MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WFRV) – The Democratic National Convention is just weeks away from being held in Milwaukee. Organizers are seeing police departments withdraw commitment to assist with policing as well as releasing health measures that will be implemented at the event.
According to affiliate WDJT, several police departments in Wisconsin that had planned on assisting Milwaukee Police during the DNC have withdrawn their commitment. The departments say the decision is due to concerns over actions by Milwaukee’s Common Council and Fire and Police Commission (FPC).
Fond du Lac, West Allis, and Franklin police departments are among those who have confirmed they will no longer provide assistance to the Milwaukee Police Department when the DNC takes place.
WDJT reports the Wisconsin Police Executive Group (WiPEG) sent a letter to Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales and other city leaders in early July expressing concerns over a possible lack of equipment needed for officers assisting with policing the DNC. Specifically, the letter highlighted the Common Council’s objection and cancellation of the MPD plan to purchase equipment for chemical irritants like tear gas and pepper spray.
“We have the highest level of respect for Chief Morales,” WiPEG Chair Bill Lamb told WDJT. “But we strongly disagree with the actions taken by the Fire and Police Commission.”
Lamb also serves as Chief of the Fond du Lac Police Department.
“We believe that removing those tools from the available resources that law enforcement officers would have at their disposal if protests become non-peaceful will severely compromise the safety of the public and also the men and women that are going to be called upon to protect the Democratic National Convention,” Lamb said.
Lamb tells WDJT that other departments may follow in withdrawing assistance and that, if the FPC reverses course, he may reconsider his position. WDJT reached out to the FPC for comment, but they did not immediately respond.
While the DNC has been scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic, presumptive nominee Joe Biden has reaffirmed his intention of attending the event to accept the party’s nomination.
“In contrast with Donald Trump and what the Republicans are doing, our top priority is going to be the health and safety of the people of Milwaukee,” Biden said in an interview.
In late June, organizers announced all convention proceedings will move from Fiserv to the Wisconsin Center, the convention center in downtown Milwaukee.
Organizers of the DNC have shared health measures they will implement ahead of the event. WDJT reports the DNC Committee says, after consulting with public health officials, they’ve come up with a list of health procedures.
DNC attendees must wear a mask, agree to daily COVID-19 testing, and fill out a daily questionnaire that they’re not experiencing symptoms. Those traveling from outside of Milwaukee to attend the event are encouraged to get tested before heading to the city and self-isolate for a minimum of 72-hours before traveling. People in Milwaukee are also encouraged to self-isolate for 72 hours before entering convention grounds, according to WDJT.
In addition to the health protocols the DNCC says their team has spent several months building up enough supply of PPE and tests so the event won’t affect the medical supply chain.
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